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Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

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chicken pasta, broccoli pasta, sun-dried tomato cream sauce recipe

Delicious Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce: short, penne pasta smothered in a flavorful, creamy sauce spiced up with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and crushed red pepper flakes! When you taste this dish, it will make you feel like you just had a taste of Italy!

First, drain and reserve all olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar. Then, add 2 tablespoons of that reserved oil to the hot skillet and saute first sun-dried tomatoes, then add chicken (generously salted on both sides and sprinkled with paprika):

cooking chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and crushed red pepper

Add half-and-half and Mozzarella cheese, heat it up to a gentle boil, then immediately reduce to simmer. Cook constantly stirring until cheese melts, adding basil and crushed red pepper flakes along the way:


adding half and half and cheese to the pasta

In the mean time, cook both pasta and broccoli florets in a single pan (or steam broccoli separately, if you prefer), chop the broccoli into smaller pieces, and add both pasta and broccoli to the creamy sauce. Stir everything in. Remove pasta from heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes before serving.

gluten free pasta recipe, best italian recipes

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce


  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small jar (3-4 oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, sliced
  • salt
  • paprika (just a little bit)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free, use Tinkyada gluten free brown rice pasta)
  • 1/2 pound broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon basil (if using dry basil), if using fresh basil you can add more
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (at least, use more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water (or more)
  • salt, to taste


  1. In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar. Add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) and saute for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Remove sun-dried tomatoes from the pan, leaving the oil, and add sliced chicken breasts (generously salted on both sides and lightly covered in paprika, for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. When pasta is about half done, add the broccoli florets. Continue cooking both pasta and broccoli for about 5 more minutes, until pasta is al dente. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water (to stop cooking).
  3. Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller bits and add them back to the skillet with chicken. Add half and half and cheese to the skillet, too, and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick - don't worry - you'll be adding some cooked pasta water soon. Add cooked pasta and broccoli to the skillet with the creamy sauce, and stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of basil, at least 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.
  4. Add about 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water because the creamy sauce will be too thick (do not add all water at once - you might need less or more of it). This will water down the thickness of the cheese sauce and make it creamier. Immediately, season the pasta with salt, more basil, and more red pepper flakes, to taste, if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
  5. Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

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{ 34 comments… add one }
  • [email protected] Riffs November 26, 2014, 12:13 pm

    One can never have too many pasta recipes! At least this one can’t. 😉 Loads of flavor in this, and it looks wonderful! A real winner — thanks. And Happy Thanksgiving!

  • MariGi November 28, 2014, 4:24 am

    Dear Julia, please always add some note about typically american products like “half and half” for instance. I like very much your recipies and if it was not for the comments I could not understand what half-and-half is all about. Thank you for all!

    • LA October 24, 2015, 1:49 pm

      Half-and-half, also known as half cream in the United Kingdom, is a simple blend of equal parts whole milk and light cream.

  • Raquel December 1, 2014, 10:04 pm

    I made this and it was delicious, thanks.

  • DS Gib December 19, 2014, 6:28 pm

    Very tasty and easy to prepare for even a novice cook such as myself. I like the creaminess in combination with the sun dried tomatoes. I added a bit more red pepper flakes cause that’s my thing… Any suggestions on wine pairings with this?

  • Sandy December 23, 2014, 1:32 pm

    I’m soooo in love with all your pasta dishes. They always look so mouthwatering delicious.

  • Orsi April 19, 2015, 8:39 am

    hi, I really like the recipe but I don’t know what is half and half. Please advise me. Thank you.

    • Rachel November 22, 2015, 8:29 am

      Half light cream, half whole milk.

  • Norma Treciokas April 19, 2015, 8:41 am

    Thank you wonderful recipe, I made for dinner and family loved it.
    Good job.

  • Vanessa July 14, 2015, 4:37 pm

    This was delicious!!! Even my 1 & 3 year olds loved it. I used chicken breasts and butterfly cut them, omitted the red pepper. Definitely going to add this to my dinner rotations. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Lou September 7, 2015, 12:17 am

    Hey! Looks like a great recipe. I just bought a slow cooker, however, and want to try it out. Is there anyway I can adjust this recipe for it to work in a slow cooker? Thanks!

  • Joel September 27, 2015, 6:53 pm

    Just made this pasta, simply delicious

  • Debbie Price November 15, 2015, 11:19 pm

    Made this tonight- moving it the “favorites” folder!

  • Regina November 21, 2015, 7:20 pm

    Sorry Julia but this one was a miss for my family of three. I added more crushed red pepper but that didn’t do it. I almost bought a 4 Italian cheese mix instead of mozzarella. If I had, that might have helped.

  • Rebecca December 18, 2015, 11:57 am

    Definitely a big hit! Will make again!

  • Kenny January 1, 2016, 10:06 am

    The picture and list of ingredients were all agreeable, so I made it last night. Unfortunately the dish did not have much favor. Seemed like it was missing something. Sorry for the bad review.

  • Adrianna Vazquez January 26, 2016, 8:41 pm

    I made this dish for dinner tonight, my husband absolutely loved it, as did I, it has so much flavor and wasn’t difficult to prepare. Thank you for the great recipe!

  • bonny February 5, 2016, 7:26 pm

    Mozzerilla clumped and sauce was not creamy, dissappointed. Flavor was ok

  • Tom Sabol September 8, 2016, 7:12 pm

    I made this tonight, for my Mom and sister. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about making something new. I have to say that everyone loved it and I will definitely make it again. The next time I will double the recipe, because there were hardly any leftovers. I just added a tossed salad, and it was more than enough for all of us.

  • Esther January 24, 2017, 3:31 pm

    So the first time i made this, it turned out perfectly! So so good. But i made again recently, and my sauce “broke” – the half n half n Mozzarella just curdled n clumped together. how do i prevent this?? Did i heat it up too high?

    • Julia January 31, 2017, 12:03 am

      I’ve had some fails with the cheese sauces as well, and here are my take-aways:

      1) Half and half should be added to the HOT pan where you have already cooked the chicken and sun-dried tomatoes in some oil.
      2) After you add the cream (half and half), bring the cream to a complete but gentle boil.
      3) Add the cheese and keep stirring until the sauce is creamy.

      It’s important that the pan and the liquids (half and half) are really hot before adding the cheese. This will ensure that the cheese will melt nicely and quickly. It is also important to have some hot fat (oil) in the pan before adding the liquids – that’s why you cook the chicken and sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil in the same pan BEFORE adding the cream (half and half). I hope this helps.

  • Connie May 20, 2017, 6:22 pm

    This is a real winner. I race my sailboat offshore with 7 hungry guys. We have this as a first night offshore meal. I do the chicken and the pasta ahead and then mix them on the boat. Not as good as if I’d done it all right then and there, but it really hits the spot. If there is any left over, which there usually isn’t, it’s even good cold at breakfast. Hey, when you are racing, you never leave anything good to die in the fridge.

  • Ann August 26, 2017, 5:03 pm

    I know this is an older post but if you can ever find some lemon basil or know someone that grows it, try it in dishes that call for regular basil. Very fresh tasting! Great for caprese and even salsa! I used leftover chicken for this and subbed fire-roasted red bell pepper for the sun-dried tomato (didn’t feel like going shopping :D). I used heavy cream and melted the mozzarella over low heat in it in a double boiler. I like to add a bit of butter when melting cheese for a sauce like this. Came out great! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Julia November 3, 2017, 6:27 pm

      Thank you so much, Ann, for such a thoughtful comment! I’ve never heard of lemon basil – it sounds so delicious!

  • James September 26, 2017, 12:09 pm

    Looks delicious! My family is coming over for dinner and i am definitely making this.

    • Julia October 31, 2017, 7:47 pm

      Thank you! Enjoy!

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